The Church of England's governing body has moved closer to barring priests from belonging to political parties that disagree with the church's teaching on racial equality.

Tuesday's vote in support of draft legislation targets membership in anti-immigrant groups including the English Defense League and the British National Party. The proposed change in church rules would give bishops the authority to designate organizations that priests may not join.

The measure was proposed two years ago, and church officials say it will be at least another year before it can be put into effect.

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